Compose a 1250 words assignment on model for assessing the unique characteristics of children with autism. Needs to be plagiarism free! This study hypothesizes that children with autism will behave differently from children with mental retardation and children with typical development during natural situations. It proposes that a standardized way of observing children in the everyday context of school recess would be a helpful assessment tool. The playground observation checklist is just such an observation tool, and the article describes how it was used and the results it produced. These results were then checked for accuracy against other information obtained by the usual autism assessment methods.
There were ten items on the behavior checklist, which is a very small amount, and for each child, in the sample of 81, a score of yes/no was recorded against each item during a 15 minute observation period. Two observers recorded the sessions simultaneously, and any instance where a child interacted with an adult during the 15 minutes was discounted, and the observation was repeated until a session with the only peer to peer interaction took place. The results showed a 94% success rate in identifying children with autism, and there were clear differences in the scores of the three categories of children. Variables such as age, parent occupation, gender, and IQ were recorded, and small effects caused by these variables were noted. The authors conceded that the observers were not blind to the diagnosis of the children observed and that this raises the possibility of observer bias. The authors conclude that this method is therefore very suitable as an initial assessment tool, to be followed up by a more detailed diagnosis later.
From the perspective of an educator, this is an interesting article that recommends an intervention that is relatively inexpensive, easy to administer, and suitable for operation in a school context in a way that does not place any undue pressure on the child. This article was an exploration of the method itself, and more needs to be done on that to ensure that the criteria are worded well, for example avoiding gender bias in the way interactions are described and scored. Assuming these details could be ironed out, this observation checklist does appear to be a good method for making initial assessments to indicate what kind of specialist referral, if any, would be appropriate for a particular child.
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